DIY - Inner CV Boot replacement and CV joint inspection
I don't know why I keep writing these...nobody ever looks at them but /shrug. Glutton for punishment. Anyways, here goes.
Lowered cars have a tendency to blow out the CV boots due to the change in suspension geometry. This will first manifest itself by dark grease spots appearing on the outside of the front rims or building up on the plastic wells of the car. Here is what a blown CV boot looks like:
Before you begin, you should decide how you want to handle the replacement. A majority of the time, people will simply buy a brand new axle and replace it completely rather then messing around with the boot. Take a look below and decide what you would like to do, and if the DIY is for you then read on.
Brand new OEM axle - $200
Brand new aftermarket axle (EMPI) - $100
CV Boot repair kit - $22
12 point outer nut - $5
Knowing something about how your car works: Priceless
I had heard some people have unusual vibrations with EMPI axles, so rather then run the risk I decided to save $175 and do the job myself. All said and done, about 2.5-3 hours of messy work.
Tools for removing JUST the axle:
-30mm 12 point socket
-8mm or 10mm 12 point triple square bit
-small piece of wood
Additional tools for replacing the CV Boot:
-Gloves (for SURE: you WILL get dirty)
-medium blade screwdriver
-large blade screwdriver
-1 or 2 rolls of shop towels and a garbage can
-New axle (if replacing)
-CV Boot kit - contains the following
a) Tube of boot grease
b) Large boot clamp
c) Outer cover
e) New Circlip
f) New boot
-New 12 point outer nut
-New CV to Axle bolts (6)
As always, be careful and do this procedure at your own risk. I can't be held responsible if you knock the car off a jackstand or something.
Removing the old axle
1. With the front end of the car off the ground, follow the *excellent* instructions provided by Raxles. It is linked below. You can also use the Wheel Bearing DIY and portions of the Clutch Removal DIY to help you out.
NOTE: I would NOT remove the nut that connects the tie rod to the control arm or the brake caliper.
Replacing the boot
NOTE: Much to my surprise, I was gifted by having one of the "triple roller" type inner CV joints. There are multiple types of CV joints, so if someone knows more about what model years / when the other types were used, please feel free to contribute.
2. Lay the axle out on your work area. Put down some newspaper or something to collect the grease.
3. Using a blade screwdriver, bend the tabs holding the cover plate to the CV joint.
4. Clean up some of the grease so you can see the top of the rollers. What you want to do is mark down in a line the way the joint is assembled so when you put it back together, it goes in the same way. Using a sharpie, make 3 marks - on the axle shaft, on the triple roller mechanism, and on the housing itself. You may also want to put a small scratch near the mark with a screwdriver, in case you wipe the ink off.
5. Remove the circlip on the outside of the axle shaft. I used two blade screwdrivers together, and it popped right off.
6. Here is a shot of inside the housing. You can see how the splined shaft fits into the triple roller assembly. Spray some PB blaster so you can soak the splines.
7. After the PB blaster has taken effect, use a rubber mallet and a small wood block to remove the axle from the triple roller. I waited an hour, and after two soft hits the axle came right out.
8. With a blade screwdriver, remove the clamp on the CV boot by prying up at the locking tab. Then slide the CV boot off the housing. Don't forget to remove the other half of the boot on the axle shaft.
9. Remove the O-ring on the housing, and use the brake cleaner and the shop towels and clean everything. I found it useful to use a bucket to put my shop towels in, and then spray the cleaner onto the parts while in the bucket. This captured all the dirt and grime.
10. Inspect the triple roller and the CV housing for abnormal wear. Some striation on the housing is normal, but look for chips and dents or deep grooves. This may mean the CV needs to be replaced.
11. Slide the new boot onto the axle shaft. You may need to twist it to get it all the way on, but don't rip the boot.
12. Install the boot onto the housing. The boot has a raised groove that fits into the deep groove on the housing.
13. Install the triple roller assembly onto the axle shaft, aligning the marks that you made in Step 4. You may need to twist the boot a bit to align the housing; remove it if you have to and then put it back on.
NOTE: The triple roller assembly goes on ONLY one way. This is with the beveled portion down, the flat part at the top. The pictures below describe this.
14. Drive the triple roller onto the axle shaft until you can see the groove for the circlip. To do this, I used a large, deep socket that would fit between the rollers but allow the axle to pass through. After a couple of taps with a rubber mallet, I could see the circlip groove.
15. Install the circlip in the groove. Take care not to deform it while installing.
16. Using the included CV joint grease, pack half of the grease into the joint and squirt the other half of the grease into the bottom of the boot. Slide the CV joint around to spread the grease.
17. Install the new O-ring into the housing, and set the cover plate on top. I used a pair of Vise-Grips to hold the plate in place while I bent the tabs down to lock the plate in place.
18. I bent the tabs down by tapping them with a hammer and then pressing them in place with the aforementioned Vice-Grips.
19. Install the clamp on the top of the boot. Make sure that the three ridges are seated properly in their holes.
20. Use the Vise-Grips (or another appropriate tool) and squeeze the square notch at the top of the clamp. This will lock the boot onto the housing. Keep tightening until the clamp will not move.
21. Reinstall the axle in accordance with the above listed DIY's.
Let me know with questions.
Modified by FaelinGL at 1:02 AM 7-19-2007